Customer Style: Nina

Nina is a Warschauerstrasse local. That means that she’s our neighbor. She’s so much our neighbor that she often gets her espresso in her own little espresso cup from home. Nina is a musician and an artist and a queen.DSC_0858 (2)Recently, Nina stopped by to shoot a short film story as part of her artists’ residency with new Berlin-based online magazine The Wild Word, set up by Kusi Okamura.

We asked Nina about the project she’s working on.

Nina: Well, I am exploring something and I am not yet entirely sure. The idea of comfort vs luxury, physical reality vs thoughts or mindset, the well-offs vs the underdogs. Queenie of the West spreading her magic of evil blindness. Choices of every day.DSC_0868 (1)They were shooting on what Nina describes as “a usb flip HD video camera with a crappy lense” and in addition to Fine Bagels, they shot on the S-bahn, the U-bahn, the Warschauer Brücke, and several Berlin streets. The finished film will be available to view here.DSC_0840 (2)Because Nina doesn’t just present an incredible visual on filming days, we wanted to ask her more about her wardrobe and aesthetic sense.

Fine Bagels: You have amazing pieces in your wardrobe.

Nina: Thank you, I actually have very few clothes.

Fine Bagels:…and it seems like you’re always one step away from costume, though costume seems inaccurate, as the word to us says disguise, and you’re certainly not disguised. Mainly just you have some wonderful theatrical pieces so we would imagine that it is as easy for you to compose a queenly outfit as it is for us to compose one of those horrendous all-black-Berlin-in-winter outfits. So what’s our question…did you just pull this together?

Nina: Yes, it is my normal snow coat. I only ever take it out around Christmas or when it is snowing. The crown of stars, I have worn at a concert in The Mansion House, Dublin, in the room where the First Dáil of Ireland was declared for an independent republic in 1919. The idea for the crown came from a photo Laurie Legrand, an artist friend of mine, sent me. I asked Laurie to make me one. The original one was really too much of a work of art to wear on my head all of the time. It was quite heavy. So I asked an amazing headwear designer/dj/counselor, Glamo Fowney, if she could make one and this is the result. And the rabbit just keeps popping up. He jumps in to my bag as I am leaving home.

Fine Bagels: In general, do you integrate performance clothes into your daily life?

Nina: No not really. It’s a mood thing. Sometimes I am very boring but then it kind of happens without me noticing. Most of the time, I dress subconsciously. I often dress my children to match me without realizing it until later in the day. Other times, I picture my outfit before I wear it.

I seem to have an accidental flamboyance so sometimes I purposely dress blandly when going, for instance, to a parents meeting or somewhere I really don’t want to stand out.

Fine Bagels: Is the line sharp or blurry?

Nina: It depends on the day. Sunday’s tend to be sharp. Thursday’s are a little blurry.

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“The rabbit just keeps popping up. He jumps in to my bag as I am leaving home.”

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Customer Style: Pepper

At Fine Bagels, we’re morning people. Rather, we have to be morning people. Comes with the territory. We understand that in Berlin, people go out. A girl once asked us if we “go out.” We asked what she meant. “Like, really go out.” We still weren’t sure what she meant but making an educated guess from the snippets of morning after recounts on which we eavesdrop from the coffee station, we’re pretty sure she meant something involving leather, techno, 6am, Crisco, and shouting. So we guess we don’t really go out. On Sunday mornings though, we get a lot of people in the store who really went out. They usually look a lot better than we do after 8 full hours and a shower. Case in point: Pepper.DSC_0905 (1)Pepper’s background is in theater but now her focus is on photography and filmmaking. She’s making a film about queer nightlife and club kids in New York. While Pepper was living in New York to work on the film, she stayed up all night going from one club to another. Poor Pepper was so busy pursuing her nocturnal work that she didn’t eat a single bagel in New York. A shanda, Pepper, a shanda.DSC_0897 (1)One of the things we like about Pepper is she’s polite.DSC_0900 (1)And has a terrific coat. DSC_0910 (1)You can check out Pepper’s website and instagram @pepperlevain. It’s worth your time.

Customer Style: Kyla and Isaac

The most interesting looking people are generally the most unapproachable people for the socially anxious us of Fine Bagels. This was definitely the case with Kyla and Isaac. Look at those pants. And that fanny pack. Who wears a fanny pack slung around their chest? Cool and unapproachable people, that’s who. Fortunately, we’re terrible judges of character. DSC_0632Kyla is from Bali which is probably a lot nicer than Berlin. Isaac is from Vancouver which we could really take or leave. Kyla had never had a bagel before and Isaac was showing her the ropes, starting her off on a rosemary seasalt and a classic poppyseed. We asked the question we ask of every non-Quebecois Canadian: Do you have Montreal bagels where you live or New York bagels? Isaac said Montreal. He then, unsolicited, said that he likes Montreal bagels better. Fine. Whatever. If big-holed, fast-rising, wood-fired, delicious little séparatistes are your thing, Isaac, that’s none of our business. Literally. Our business is New York style bagels.

Isaac had amazing hand-sewn pants that we’re pretty sure are airbrushed. We are fascinated by the airbrushing on these pants as we are by all the things forbidden us as youths (cable television, 10:00pm, non-generic foodstuffs, a pony, Fluff, airbrushed clothing). Airbrushed clothing meant unsavory places like the carnival and unsavory places like the carnival meant stranger danger. Isaac is a pleasant and open person and combined with those airbrushed trousers, he is at definite risk for stranger danger.DSC_0647To try her first bagel ever, Kyla had an excellent outfit of layered velvety prints and rough mattes. For our first bagel, we were almost certainly wearing a soiled diaper and ragefully mourning the loss of the breast, so she’s got one up on us. To our defense, it was the early eighties and everyone looked terrible.DSC_0655Isaac


DSC_0643 (1)All this Montreal vs NYC talk got us planning to make Montreal Style bagels. Stay posted. Thanks for the inspiration, Kyla and Isaac.

Customer Style: Ludwig

DSC_0451Until last week, we of Fine Bagels had never seen a real, live, Great Dane. Like the Right Whale, the Giant Panda, and the Woolly Mammoth, the only time we’d ever seen one before this was the time we found one thawing in the ice near a Barents Sea fish-packing plant. We don’t need to tell you how that ended. So when Ludwig showed up for bagels, it hit us that, in fact, we’d never really seen one of these things before. We thought we had, but we were just confusing them with Weimaramers.DSC_0428What we liked about Ludwig is that he is more or less a pony. The pony we never had. The pony we resent never having had.DSC_0424 (1)We talked to Tim, Fine Bagels baker and manservant to Ludwig:

Fine Bagels: Do you ever ride Ludwig?

Tim: No.

Fine Bagels: But your girlfriend is a lot smaller than you. Has she ever ridden Ludwig?

Tim: Only for a little while.

Fine Bagels: Have you ever done dressage?

Tim: What?

Fine Bagels: Does Ludwig ever try to sleep in your bed or sit on your lap? We once had a beagle who did that.

Tim: No, but he tries. He has his own bed but since he’s so big, it takes him about five minutes to get comfortable.

Fine Bagels: So what you’re saying is that the two of you have never spooned?

Tim: No. I’m not saying that. We spoon. On the floor.

Fine Bagels: So who…

Tim: Ludwig is the big spoon.

Fine Bagels: Unbelievable.

Fine Bagels: So you take him out on walks and stuff, huh? Do you bring Hefty bags?

Tim: What?

Fine Bagels: (In best John Inman) Massive bin-liners.

Tim: Oh, it’s a double bag job for sure.

Fine Bagels: Guess you guys have some kind of gentleman’s understanding about that one?

Tim: I suppose we do.DSC_0435Lifestyle-choice Ludwig taking up a hell of a lot of space while he man-spreads on the floor.DSC_0475 (1)Ludwig got a treat and left.

Customer Style: Sayaka Botanic

DSC_0569We caught Sayaka on her first week as a Berliner. She moved here from Yokohama Japan with her band. We loved her plush coat so we had to ask about it when we brought her her latte. Japanese Ebay: 7euros. We couldn’t find a stale bagel on Ebay for 7euros and meanwhile Sayaka finds this coat. DSC_0587Sayaka is a musician. She plays the violin. She had lessons when she was a girl but ditched the instrument until she was older and self-taught a style all her own. She uses this to compliment her bandmate’s vocals and beats. We tried to sound sound literate and ask her what kind of music she plays and we caught words like “avante-garde” “performance” and “punk.” Since we don’t know what that amounts to beyond a whole lot of cooler-than-us, we looked up their music. They’re called Band A and they’re playing at Berghain tonight as part of the CTM Festival tomorrow night. You can listen here. Damn. Sayaka. She looked all soft and fuzzy in that coat and now…there’s another side to her.DSC_0574Sayaka sewed her skirt herself from a scarf her mother bought in China. It’s velvet and sheer with sewn textured detailing. Before she got into music, Sayaka sewed in a fashion studio. We asked her if she has any big plans for her future in Berlin. She says she wants to keep making music. DSC_0608Respect to a girl who can match her coat and nails to a Frida button. Welcome to Berlin, Sayaka.

Customer Style: Bella, Blue, Kimi and Miu

In the words of a great Cohen, what da fuck is dat man?DSC_0143There are few things that will crack our icy demeanor at Fine Bagels. Puppies are one of them. These dogs are wicked old but please don’t be all hyper-literal on us and tell us that they’re not puppies (we’re looking at you, Central Europe). All dogs are puppies until the day they go to the farm. Fact. Bela and Blue are almost seven and Miu and Kimi are 10-years-old. They ALL have birthdays in May. This just led us to Google “how long are dogs pregnant for?” Answer: About 63 days. Using simple math, the only conclusion we can draw is that they were all conceived on Valentine’s Day. You’ll surely find the same.DSC_0131Look at that. They are no bigger than a bagel!DSC_0149So what are these tiny beasts? They’re Prague Ratters and they were all born in the Czech Republic and now they live with Larissa and Michael from Preussen Rattler vom Friedrichshain. Larissa somehow managed to eat a bagel while the puppies pranced gayly around her. It was the most impressive act of bagel consumption we’ve seen all year. All we could do was stand around blabbering at the dogs in an infantalized coo. Adding a bagel to that mix would have required the kind of multi-tasking skills that we lost once we moved to Berlin.

Michael says that Miu is the nicest and the favorite. Larissa says that Kimi is the nicest. We suggested they tell them that.


Customer Style: Sabrina

It’s one of those drippy slushy snow weeks in Berlin where everyone goes hardcore schlump. German pensioners in matching gortex pant-suits braving an apocalyptic weather pattern only they can see. Young stylish types with cold brown icewater soaking through their purposefully tattered shoes and extraordinarily heavy yet inadequate thrifted coats. Pram-pushing Muttis in soggy beige piles of pilled organic knitwear. In a world such as this, relief is found in a warm cloud of clean pink fluff enclosing a tiny yet striking woman as she eats bagels and faces the elements on adorable terms.DSC_0912

Sabrina is from Graz, Austria but she lives in Berlin now, where she does Fashion Marketing for Zalando. We asked Sabrina if she’s a natural redhead, prepared to be jealous if she answered in the affirmative. She is not. She’s jealous of natural redheads too. Sabrina is a familiar face at Fine Bagels. She comes on Sundays with her boyfriend and gets an everything bagel with hummus and avocado. Her boyfriend gets something with lox. We saw it. That’s not right. How can he kiss her later? She isn’t eating lox. The rule with bagels and lox is either both people have it or no one does. Smooth move, Sabrina’s boyfriend. Probably for the best. Her makeup is impeccable. DSC_0917

Look closely. Those moon boots are sparkly. Since they look like big soft cushions and the name suggests a low-gravity experience, so we asked Sabrina if they are comfortable. No. They’re not.DSC_0916

Sabrina has a fantastic style blog, She blogs about sustainable, fair, and personal fashion. It’s great. Way better than our blog. Like she knows what she’s doing. And someone is taking gorgeous pictures for it. Since it’s not just Gross Weather Week in Berlin but also Fashion Week, check out Sabrina’s Fair Fashion Guide to Berlin Fashion Week 2016.

At first, before we saw her blog, we wondered if she has thoughts on people like us describing her as “adorable” or “tiny” or “super cute.” We’ve been told by adorable, super cute, and tiny friends that that is patronizing. The we behind Fine Bagels mainly only gets called stuff like “really tall” and “broad-shouldered” and can only dream of such delicate descriptors. Ultimately, it was Sabrina herself who chose to charmingly wear twinkly moon boots and a delightful fluffy cotton-candy coat, right? So we decided to stick by our sweet and diminutive adjectives since she’s totally asking for it. Then we saw her blog. Validation.DSC_0888